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Grace Campbell on “Why I’m never going into politics”

What do you do if your dad was Tony Blair’s spin doctor, the person who coined the term ‘New Labour’ and the alleged inspiration for The Thick of It’s Malcolm Tucker? Well, if you’re Grace Campbell, you embrace this notoriety in order to follow your dream: going to Edinburgh Festival to talk about fanny farts. Her sold-out show ‘Why I’m Never Going Into Politics’ draws from her life growing up around politics, as well as observations on 21st century feminism, and next month she brings it all to Soho Theatre. Grace also campaigns as part of the Pink Protest, a collective that has helped to address subjects such as period poverty.

Eli Goldstone: Your show is titled Why I’m Never Going Into Politics. Which raises the question: did you ever consider a career following in your parents’ footsteps?

Grace Campbell: No, I don’t think I did. Our experience of politics as children was quite brutal. Protesters outside our house, police security, I saw the dark side of what your life could be like pretty young. Then I realised that actually I can still make stuff happen without being a politician, and I thought, ‘well I’m funny and I love performing so let’s see what this comedy stuff is saying’.  

Eli: Who are the women in politics you most admire, other than your mum?

Grace: Tessa Jowell (Labour MP and minister) was my unofficial godmother growing up. She really inspired me. She fought for so many things that the Labour Government have as their legacy, sure start, the Olympics. Even in her death she inspired an improvement of treatment to the type of brain cancer she had. She was a really incredibly loving and compassionate person, and we miss her a lot.

Eli: You say that stand-up is great because nobody can tell you what not to say. How as a performer do you self-regulate?

Grace: The main thing is being funny. That’s how I self-regulate, if something’s not funny, I either cut it, or work it through until it is. However, I always know that there are some jokes that I say that the older men in the audience just aren’t going to laugh at and that’s fine, because they’re learning.

Eli: Do you think that people are still shocked by women talking openly about their sexuality?

Grace: I didn’t think that it was still such a big shock for people and certainly not to the extent that it is. But at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe (last summer) I was very surprised by how many older people were really shocked by my pretty out their sexual stuff. I did make sure this was warned about in the promo for the show, so they wouldn’t be caught off guard. But I see it as a service - teaching old men about the clitoris, they might have no idea.

Eli: You must get a lot of anonymous abuse being in the public eye. What is the best way to deal with it?

Grace: Try and remind yourself that this isn’t directly about you. There are just a lot of angry people online who want to belittle you amongst others. They’re behind a screen and would never say these things to you if you saw them IRL. Sometimes it does freak me out when people appear to know a lot of things about me, but I haven’t been afraid of blocking people when they overstep the boundaries.

Eli: Who’s the politician with the best sense of humour?

Grace: Ed Miliband.

Eli: Finally, can you break your silence over your ten year ban from Rowan’s?

Grace: Nope. Sorry, I’m waiting to put this in my tell all memoir.

Grace Campbell: disgracecampbell.com | Twitter | Instagram

Grace Campbell: Why I’m Never Going Into Politics.
Soho Theatre on 17th and 18th February.
Tickets: sohotheatre.com

UK tour from 23rd February – 26th March.
Tickets: disgracecampbell.com/tour

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